Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The Hollow Men
I watched the movie Apocalypse Now last night, and for the first time (blush) became acquainted with the following poem by T.S. Elliot.

My own poetry has been likened (by those select few who follow it) to that of T.S. Elliot, and that always surprised me. But now that I've read this one, I can see why someone would say that.

Here's a fascinating poem that we should all be acquainted with, and a few comments below it by myself.

The hollow men
by T.S. Elliot


We are the hollow men
we are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw.Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rat's feet on broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without color,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us - if at all - not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream Kingdom
These do not appear
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.
Let me be no nearer
In death's dream Kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer -
Not that final meeting
In the twilight Kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star
Is it like this
In death's other Kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In the valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost Kingdoms
In this last of meeting places
We grope together
and avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river
Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight Kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.
Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom
For thine is
Life is
For Thine is the
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

To that we can add the beautiful-bloody ending of Francis Ford Coppola (I have no doubt he was the author of the final scene in that movie):

the horror!

the horror...


~ basil

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

a little humor...

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said
it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because, even
though, it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. The
little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Irritated, the
teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically

The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah".

The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?" The little girl replied,

"Then you ask him".